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ing civil communities together than any mere covenants, though written on parchment or engraved on iron.”
The people of the United States were the first to follow the example of England, after the practicability of steam locomotion had been proved on the Stockton and Darlington and Liverpool and Manchester Railways. The first sod of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway was cut on the 4th of July, 1828, and the line was completed and opened for traffic in the following year, when it was worked partly by horse-power, and partly by a locomotive built at Baltimore, which is still preserved in the Company's workshops. In 1830 the Hudson and Mohawk Railway was begun,
while other lines were under construction in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey; and in the course of ten years, 1843 miles were finished and in operation. In ten more years, 8827 miles were at work; at the end of 1864, not less than 35,000 miles, mostly single tracks; while about 15,000 miles more were under construction. One of the most extensive trunk-lines still unfinished is the Great Pacific Railroad, connecting the lines in the valleys of the Mississippi and the Missouri with the city of San Francisco on the shores of the Pacific, by which, when completed, it will be possible to make the journey from England to Hong Kong, via New York, in little more than a month.
The results of the working of railways have been in many respects different from those anticipated by their projectors. One of the most unexpected has been the growth of an immense passenger-traffic. The Stockton and Darlington line was projected as a coal line only, and the Liverpool and Manchester as a merchandise line. Passengers were not taken into account as a source of revenue; for, at the time of their projection, it was not believed that people would trust themselves to be drawn upon a railway by an “explosive machine," as the locomotive was described to be. Indeed, a writer of eminence declared that he would as soon think of being fired off on a ricochet rocket as
travel on a railway at twice the speed of the old stage-coaches. So great was the alarm which existed as to the locomotive, that the Liverpool and Manchester Committee pledged themselves in their second prospectus, issued in 1825, “ not to require any clause empowering its use;" and as late as 1829, the Newcastle and Carlisle Act was conceded on the express condition that it should not be worked by locomotives, but by horses only.
Nevertheless, the Liverpool and Manchester Company obtained powers to make and work their railway without any such restriction; and when the line was made and opened, a locomotive passenger-train was ordered to be run upon it by way of experiment. Greatly to the surprise of the directors, more passengers presented themselves as travelers by the train than could conveniently be carried.
The first arrangements as to passenger-traffic were of a very primitive character, being mainly copied from the old stage-coach system. The passengers were “ booked” at the railway office, and their names were entered in a way-bill which was given to the guard when the train started. Though the usual stage-coach bugleman could not conveniently accompany the
passengers, the trains were at first played out of the terminal stations by a lively tune performed by a trumpeter at the end of the platform, and this continued to be done at the Manchester Station until a comparatively recent date.
But the number of passengers carried by the Liverpool and Manchester line was so unexpectedly great, that it was very soon found necessary to remodel the entire system. Tickets were introduced, by which a great saving of time was effected. More roomy and commodious carriages were provided, the original first-class compartments being seated for four passengers only. Every thing was found to have been in the first instance made too light and too slight. The prize “Rocket,” which weighed only 44 tons when loaded with its coke and water, was found quite unsuited for drawing the increasingly heavy loads of pas
sengers. There was also this essential difference between the old stage-coach and the new railway train, that, whereas the former was "full" with six inside and ten outside, the latter must be able to accommodate whatever number of passengers came to be carried. Hence heavier and more powerful engines, and larger and more substantial carriages, were from time to time added to the carrying stock of the railway.
The speed of the trains was also increased. The first locomotives used in hauling coal-trains ran at from four to six miles an hour. On the Stockton and Darlington line the speed was increased to about ten miles an hour; and on the Liverpool and Manchester line the first passenger-trains were run at the average speed of seventeen miles an hour, which at that time was considered very fast. But this was not enough. When the London and Birmingham line was opened, the mail-trains were run at twenty-three miles an hour; and gradually the speed went up, until now the fast trains are run at from fifty to sixty miles an hour—the pistons in the cylinders, at sixty miles, traveling at the inconceivable rapidity of 800 feet per minute !
To bear the load of heavy engines run at high speeds, a much stronger and heavier road was found necessary; and shortly after the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester line, it was entirely relaid with stronger materials. Now that express passenger-engines are from thirty to thirty-five tons each, the weight of the rails has been increased from 35 lbs. to 75 lbs. or 86 lbs. to the yard. Stone blocks have given place to wooden sleepers ; rails with loose ends resting on the chairs, to rails with their ends firmly “fished” together; and in many places, where the traffic is unusually heavy, iron rails have been replaced by those of steel.
And now see the enormous magnitude to which railway passenger-traffic has grown. In the year 1866, 274,293,668 passengers were carried by day tickets in Great Britain alone. But this was not all; for in that year 110,227 periodical tickets were
issued by the different railways; and assuming half of them to be annual, one fourth half-yearly, and the remainder quarterly tickets, and that their holders made only five journeys each way weekly, this would give an additional number of 39,405,600 journeys, or a total of 313,699,268 passengers carried in Great Brit
ain in one year.
It is difficult to grasp the idea of the enormous number of persons represented by these figures. The mind is merely bewildered by them, and can form no adequate notion of their magnitude. To reckon them singly would occupy twenty years, counting at the rate of one a second for twelve hours every day. Or take another illustration. Supposing every man, woman, and child in Great Britain to make ten journeys by rail yearly, the number would fall short of the passengers carried in 1866.
Mr. Porter, in his “ Progress of the Nation,” estimated that thirty millions of passengers, or about eighty-two thousand a day, traveled by coaches in Great Britain in 1834, an average distance of twelve miles each, at an average cost of 58. a passenger, or at the rate of 5d. a mile; whereas above 313 millions are now carried by railway an average distance of 84 miles each, at an average cost of 18. 11d. per passenger, or about three halfpence per mile, in considerably less than half the time.
But, besides the above number of passengers, one hundred and twenty-four million tons of minerals and merchandise were carried by railway in the United Kingdon in 1866, and fifteen millions of cattle, besides mails, parcels, and other traffic. The distance run by passenger and goods trains in the year was 142,807,853 miles, to accomplish which it is estimated that four miles of railway on an average must be covered by running trains during every second all the year round.
To perform this service, there were, in 1866, 8125 locomotives at work in the United Kingdom, consuming about three million tons of coal and coke, and flashing into the air every minute some thirty tons of water in the form of steam in a high state
of elasticity. There were also 19,228 passenger-carriages, 7276 vans and breaks attached to passenger-trains, and 242,947 trucks, wagons, and other vehicles appropriated to merchandise. Buckled together, buffer to buffer, the locomotives and tenders would extend for a length of about 54 miles, or more than the distance from London to Brighton; while the carrying vehicles, joined together, would form two trains occupying a double line of railway extending from London to beyond Inverness.
A notable feature in the growth of railway traffic of late years has been the increase in the number of third-class passengers, compared with first and second class. Sixteen years since, the third-class passengers constituted only about one third ; ten years later they were about one half; whereas now they form nearly two thirds of the whole number carried. Thus George Stephenson's prediction “that the time would come when it would be cheaper for a working man to make a journey by railway than to walk on foot” is already realized.
The degree of safety with which this great traffic has been conducted is not the least remarkable of its features. Of course, so long as railways are worked by men, they will be liable to the imperfections belonging to all things human. Though their machinery may be perfect, and their organization as complete as skill and forethought can make it, workmen will at times be forgetful and listless, and a moment's carelessness may lead to the most disastrous results. Yet, taking all circumstances into account, the wonder is that traveling by railway at high speeds should have been rendered comparatively so safe.
To be struck by lightning is one of the rarest of all causes of death, yet more persons were killed by lightning in Great Britain, in 1866, than were killed on railways from causes beyond their own control; the number in the former case having been nineteen, and in the latter fifteen, or one in every twenty millions of passengers carried. Most persons would consider the probability of their dying by hanging to be extremely remote; yet, accord